Belfast Crown Court hears man threatened to "slit" ex-partner's throat if she called police

Stock image of Laganside court building in Belfast
Stock image of Laganside court building in Belfast -Credit:Belfast Live

A man who threatened to “slit the throat” of his ex-partner if she called the police after he assaulted her was today (Friday) jailed for two years and five months.

Patrick Connor Doherty, 29, was told by Judge Donna McColgan KC that he will spend a similar period on supervised licence on his release from custody.

Doherty, whose address was given on court papers as c/o Maghaberry Prison, pleaded guilty to charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, possession of an offensive weapon and possession of a prohibited weapon. He also admitted three counts of assault on police officers, criminal damage and a domestic abuse offence.

Prosecution counsel David Russell KC said that on Tuesday, May 30, 2023, police were alerted by a third party report of a domestic incident at the victim’s home in Belfast.

“On arrival police located the defendant in the property and separated him from the injured party. The accused at that time was the subject of a Non-Molestation Order (NMO) in favour of the victim,” said Mr Russell.

“The injured party told police that earlier in the day she had a verbal altercation with the defendant which ended with him producing a flick knife, holding it and threatening to slit her throat.

“He punched her twice on the arm and told her she could not attend a concert with her friends as she was a ‘s**t’. He squared up to her and punched her to the right eye causing bruising and swelling to her face.

“He continued to punch her causing a laceration above her right eye. This accused would not let her seek assistance despite the fact she was bleeding heavily. He refused to let her leave and swung a hammer at her, narrowly missing her legs. He produced a pepper spray and said he would use it on police. He then produced the flick knife threatening to slit her throat if she called the police.”

Mr Russell told the court that the victim informed police that Doherty had punched her in the face over an argument about her taking the defendant’s cat to the vet. He also disclosed that during the altercation Doherty smashed two television sets, a guitar and a set of hair straighteners belonging to her.

“She also stated that in the previous week she had been assaulted by the defendant, sustaining two black eyes and bruising to her face. She also received numerous abusive text messages which caused her distress,” the court heard.

Judge McColgan heard Doherty fought with police during his arrest who were forced to put limb restraints on him along with a bite and spit guard to his face. He sustained a cut to his head after repeatedly banging it the wall of the cell van.

He claimed during police interviews that following an argument the injured party pulled a knife on him and he defended himself by pushing her over and banged her head causing the injuries. Doherty denied threatening to kill her, he denied pulling the pepper spray on her and denied threatening members of her family.

The court heard Doherty has 30 previous convictions with a history of breaching NMOs, common assaults, breach of restraining orders and harassment. He was the subject of three suspended sentences, including a ten month sentence suspended for three years handed down in October 2020.

In a pre-sentence report, the Probation Board assessed Doherty as a high likelihood of reoffending but did not pose a danger to the public.

Defence barrister Michael Boyd accepted that the case crossed the custody threshold but urged the court to “exercise as much compassion and leniency as is possible”.

Imposing the four year sentence, Judge McColgan also activated the ten month suspended sentence.

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